Why the Utah Jazz won’t give Rudy Gobert the supermax

If history tells us anything, it’s that the Utah Jazz won’t offer Rudy Gobert the supermax this upcoming offseason. For Jazz fans, that’s likely to be a good thing.

This upcoming offseason, Rudy Gobert will be eligible for a “supermax” contract. Formally known as the “Designated Veteran Player Extension,” the holy grail of NBA offers will allow the Utah Jazz to re-sign their All-Star center to a five-year deal worth up to 35 percent of the current salary cap.

Even better for Gobert, each year after the deal were to begin, his salary would see an eight percent increase — that’d come out to $247.3 million in five years’ time.

Though a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Justin Zanik and Dennis Lindsey would be wise to pass on locking up their French rim protector — and they will. The reasons for this are numerous, but the most convincing of ‘em has to do with the ever-changing state of the league.

Daryl Morey’s not the only general manager undervaluing big men — “positionless” basketball is in vogue. Think about it: Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokić, Karl-Anthony Towns and LaMarcus Aldridge — what do all five of them have in common? They’re centers, but without hesitation, each of them jacks from deep with a 3-point percentage of at least 31.4.

Heck, even Brooke Lopez is taking his fair share of 3-point attempts in today’s NBA. The 12-year man out of Stanford averaged zero three-point attempts during his first five seasons in the league. Last year, he took a jaw-dropping 6.3 of them a game for the Milwaukee Bucks

Nikola Mirotić, his sharp-shooting teammate at the time, only took 6.2 of them per contest.

The point remains the same, though — athletic big men who can shoot, competently dribble and pick up smaller, more agile guards around the perimeter are held at a premium.

That’s not going to change anytime soon.

Should the Jazz gift him a supermax extension, in five years, Gobert will be 33 years old. If his game refuses to adapt at a quick enough rate, how much will Gobert’s core skill set have aged?

Known dinosaur, Roy Hibbert, was a two-time NBA All-Star with selections in 2012 and 2014 with the Indiana Pacers — the league’s positionless movement was in its infancy at the time.

Three years later, he was out of the league.

Please don’t misunderstand me: at best, Hibbert and Gobert are worlds apart. Gobert’s days of eating potato chips from his living room sofa are light-years away. Be it five years or fifty, the object of the game will still be to put the ball in the hoop — Rudy keeps that from happening.

But is that kind of dominance worth just a hair under $250 million over a half-decade?

Don’t kid yourself, peeps — of course it’s not.

Even more so considering that the Utah Jazz owe Joe Ingles, Royce O’Neale and Bojan Bogdanović roughly $117 million after this season comes to a close. And if that weren’t bleak enough of a picture, that’s not counting the max extension Donovan Mitchell will sign this offseason.

To date, only five active NBA players are sitting pretty atop the supermax:

  • John Wall
  • James Harden
  • Stephen Curry
  • Damian Lillard
  • Russell Westbrook

Of the above list and Gobert’s potential place on it, writes James Herbert of CBS Sports:

“The shooters on that list have been far more successful than their more athletic counterparts. Paying a non-shooter $50 million per year is dangerous, even if they’re flawless everywhere else. Gobert isn’t.”

Jazz fans, don’t lose sleep over whether or not Mitchell and Gobert are making friendship bracelets for each other. If you’re going to toss and turn at night, make it about a more pressing matter: thinking he’s worth it, how is Rudy going to respond to not being given the supermax?

Cooperation or cancer?

Buckle up, #TakeNote Nation — it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Next: Utah Jazz: Gobert's talent takes a backseat to Mitchell's